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obama was a new united states senator in 2005. nelson mandela, world statesman, retired from public life, but still the proud father of a new south africa. that meeting in washington was mr. obama's only opportunity to tell mandela in person how he inspired his own political activism. >> my very first political action, the first thing that i ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid and like so many around the globe, i cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that nelson mandela set and so long as i live, i will do what i can to learn from him. >> during mr. obama's first trip to south africa as president in june of this year, serious consideration was given to a meeting with mandela at the hospital, but even then, he was far too frail and mr. obama huddled instead with the family inside this compound. then brought him to the prison. mr. obama referred to mandela by his south african name of endearment. madiba. >> madiba's words give us a compass in a sea of change. >> with mandela's passing, the president said others must now hol
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